DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog http://www.zhuozhouftc.com DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog by DoN Brewer Tue, 03 Dec 2019 12:22:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.6 http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/cropped-donartnews_header-32x32.jpg DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog http://www.zhuozhouftc.com 32 32 Fred http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/fred/ http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/fred/#respond Thu, 28 Nov 2019 04:19:53 +0000 http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/?p=4597

The Red Bridge, Fred Wagner, Sewell EBiggs Museum of American Art

Fred Wagner, The Red Bridge

It’s always such a cool feeling to see a Fred Wagner painting in a regional museum like the Sewell E. Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, Delaware. It’s weird, it’s like he’s a pal to me. He hung out on Camac Street in Philly at the Philadelphia Sketch Club, studied at and later taught anatomy at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, hung out with Thomas Eakins, hung out at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and he summered at the Jersey shore. Yo! Fred! How you doin’ ?

The Red Bridge is, according to 150 years of Philadelphia painters and paintings: Selections from the Sewell C. Biggs Museum of American Art, the South Street Bridge! My hood! Fred Wagner titled the painting after an art show held at the Academy (PAFA) in 1940 but started the large canvas in 1910. The original bridge was built in the 1870s and rebuilt in 1923, it’s not known why it took so long for Wagner to finish the painting.

I can picture him on the banks of the Schuylkill River, a plein air painter capturing the built landscape on a big canvas on his French easel, then trekking back to the studio with the gear on his back like the Barbizon painters in the French forest instead a détournement of South Philly. If he were alive today we’d be friends on FaceBook, at least.

Like many of America’s great painters, Fred was an illustrator, a big business in Philadelphia, before photography disrupted the press, which explains the symbols and semiotics of his work; a strong narrative with appealing design that spreads memes through slightly strange structural color choices, intentional distortions, and bouncy contrasts. The moody soft greens over burnt sienna of The Red Bridge, is economic and expressive, the charcoal-ish icy deep blues contrast against shivering grays and off white explaining the atmospherics in complete sentences written in line, light, color, and space.

There is something in Wagner’s color language and composition structures that feels eloquently studied, information rich, a dialog with shapes that are descriptive, narrating a particular time and place, elements that are really easy to read, intellectually stealthy in his palette, and now, a wise voice from the past that speaks loudly in modern time, the artists far distant future.

The balance of deliberate narrative with alluring color chords, arresting structural color, and murky atmospheric light, with yellow haze of the early Industrial age, is expressed in the immediacy of oil paint on canvas. I’ve realized that his visual vocabulary is so eloquent and clear to me because he was describing the uniqueness of the visual language of the Philadelphia landscape.

Fred Wagner painted all his life, and although only making a modest living as an artist, his work was entered and accepted into some of the most prestigious art exhibitions of the time. He won many awards for his work and his paintings were (or are) in numerous museums including the Philadelphia Museum of ArtReading MuseumWoodmere Art MuseumJames A. Michener Art MuseumSt Louis Art MuseumSewell E. Biggs Museum of American ArtFarnsworth Art Museum and Penn State University Museum.[11] – Wikipedia

The Philadelphia Sketch Club, established 1860, is still going strong, I go there almost every week to draw models in the studio. Fred Wagner is listed on the historical marker in front of the club, the oldest artist run art studio and gallery in America, as an important American artist.

Seeing his work in Dover at the Biggs was a real mood boost, like a deep conversation about art with a reliable old friend and mentor. The early industrial landscape depicted in the painting is now an intellectual hub of hospitals and universities, with space age modern architecture on the West bank, and a people friendly Schuylkill River Trail that goes all the way to Valley Forge by bike, and some of the most desirable living in the city, where Fred Wagner composed his painting, The Red Bridge, on the east side on the river.

The influences of Fred Wagner are still strong at PAFA, painting is core. At the Philadelphia Sketch Club, the 11th Annual Phillustration exhibited contemporary illustrations from a still vibrant and relevant artist community of illustrators in Philly. If you see Fred at a Philadelphia regional museum say, “Yo!”

Williams A. Gee, Grays Ferry Bridge over Schuylkill River / Newkirk Viaduct, 8/29/1932
DOR Archives, City of Philadelphia

Thanks for writing about my great grand-uncle?Fred Wagner. As you know, my sister?Cyndy Drue?and I authored a book about Fred that your readers can order from xLibris called Fred Wagner, An American Painter, 1860-1940.”

Susan Smith

Read more about Fred Wagner, DoN‘s review of Impressionism to Modernism: The Lenfest Collection of American Art, Michener Art Museum on DoNArTNeWs

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Food http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/food/ http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/food/#respond Thu, 21 Nov 2019 01:32:14 +0000 http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/?p=4581

Dough with encapsulations, by Orkan Telhan. The artist and biological designer will discuss roles for microorganisms on February 19, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist.

Art Food, Designs for Different Futures, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Orkan Telhan is an interdisciplinary artist, designer and researcher whose investigations focus on the design of interrogative objects, interfaces, and media, engaging with critical issues in social, cultural, and environmental responsibility.

Food as a subject of art is natural in a museum, Designs for Different Futures cooks up a feast of information and imagination with an entire section of the exhibition devoted to future foods. Orkan Telhan’s artworks are arrayed around a large round, white dining table with stations for disparate food designs for Breakfast Before Extinction: Better Salmon, 2019, Last Bananas, 2019, Human Made Vanillas, 2019, Simit Diet & B | reactor, 2019 (Designed with Biorealize), Pancake Bot, 2019, Ourochef Steak, 2019, Dough with encapsulations.

Breakfast Before Extinction
A series of mediations on the future of the human diet. From steaks made of human cells to extinct bananas and genetically-modified fish, this table stages a number of scenarios where our relationship with food is interrogated.

Breakfast Before Extinction

As an interrogative object, Dough with Encapsulations questions the authenticity of the object, which seems quite real, communicating with the semiotics of the imagery of food, the artist stimulates the senses with coded traditional art concepts like color, light, line and space, signaling the object belongs in a museum exhibition, while simultaneously sparking the yuck or yum response to a dough that could be sweet or meat, the decoration cherry gummies or blood capsules. The ambiguity of the object between sculptural and conceptual, useful and dreadful, pretty and creepy is a menu of contemporary art themes.

Semiotics is the study of sign process, which is any form of activity, conduct, or any process that involves signs, including the production of meaning. A sign is anything that communicates a meaning, that is not the sign itself, to the interpreter of the sign. Wikipedia

Dough with Encapsulations projects layers of meaning onto a pink blob adorned with red gel caps, the color combo vibrates in the high key, unctuous and in bad taste yet campy and fun, the form displays action, the idea of yeast, a life form, activating and changing the chemistry of the ingredients, the cook kneading and adding the ingredient of time and duration, the context of the exhibition space resonates on the wavelength between dystopian and utopian, it could be a recipe for disaster or a cook book for survival.

Even though the dough presents as a Useful Art object it is a critique on the institution of food production, failure of industrial leadership, the glamorization and commodification of food, while spotlighting those who are undermining the authenticity of food in the real world. The mad scientist is glamorized, feminized and made Instagram-able through being socially engaged with the concept of solving world hunger. That’s a lot of information to transmit.

“Give me yesterday’s Bread, this Day’s Flesh, and last Year’s Cider.” – Benjamin Franklin

The object functions on multiple levels of intellect and social signification; gender stereotypes are melted into the color, the bulbous shape mammalian, the urgency of passing time and following instructions is baked in to the cake. The male gaze with demands, commands, and needs are fulfilled with reassuring information embedded in the color and form; is the form feminine?

The use of food as source material for social commentary and engagement is contemporary in that the subject is relatable to everybody thereby ripe for commentary and critique on gender roles in a patriarchal society. This form of socially engaged art has been brought forward into the future and will continue to create memes, make things better for everybody, and create a dish of languages mixed without words.

Semiotics of the Kitchen is a feminist parody single-channel video and performance piece released in 1975 by Martha Rosler. The video, which runs six minutes, is considered a critique of the commodified versions of traditional women’s roles in modern society. Wikipedia

Martha Rosler, Semiotics of the Kitchen, 1975

Designs for Different Futures

Philadelphia Museum of Art: October 22, 2019–March 8, 2020

Walker Art Center: September 12, 2020–January 3, 2021

Art Institute of Chicago: February 6 –May 16, 2021

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Futures http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/futures/ http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/futures/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2019 13:12:22 +0000 http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/?p=4556

Design for Different Futures

Now, by Ryan Strand Greenberg. The photographer and curator will engage the public in conversation about the history we pass on to the future on January 22, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist.

Designs for Different Futures, Philadelphia Museum of Art

“Well, I feel that we should always put a little art into what we do. It’s better that way.”
―?Jules Verne, From the Earth to the Moon (De la terre à la lune),?an 1865 novel.

From the Earth to the Moon tells the story of the Baltimore Gun Club, a post-American Civil War?society of weapons enthusiasts, and their attempts to build an enormous?Columbiad?space gun?and launch three people—the Gun Club’s president, his Philadelphian armor-making rival, and a French poet—in a projectile with the goal of a?Moon landing. Five years later, Verne wrote a sequel called?Around the Moon.” – Wikipedia

I remember well receiving?From the Earth to the Moon from my Aunt Fran for my 12th birthday, the book has three novels about the future that shaped my vision and expectations of science fiction. The novel begins shortly after the civil war with a story of transforming the technology of war into that of exploration and innovation and the concept of a ‘space ship’ is invented. The ideas posited in the book are still very relevant today, reality is stranger than fiction, though, and I’m pretty sure Verne would have thought we’d have colonized the Moon by now.

During the 1860s, the French Salon jury routinely rejected about half of the works submitted, Emperor Napoleon III saw the rejected works of 1863, he decreed that the public be allowed to judge the work themselves, and the?Salon des Refusés?(Salon of the Refused) was organized, on April 25, 1874 with the title?The Exhibition of the Impressionists,?held in the salon of the photographer Nadar and organized by the Société anonyme des peintres, sculpteurs et graveurs (Anonymous society of painters, sculptors and engravers), composed of Pissarro, Monet, Sisley, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Guillaumin and Berthe Morisot.

The?1860s?was the ten-year period from the years?1860?to?1869.

The?abolition?of?Slavery in the United States?led to the breakdown of the?Atlantic slave trade, which was already suffering from the abolition of slavery in most of?Europe?in the late?1820s?and?1830s. In the United States,?civil war?between the?Confederate States of America?and the?Union states?led to massive deaths and the destruction of cities such as?Chambersburg, Pennsylvania;?Richmond, Virginia; and?Atlanta, Georgia.?Sherman’s March to the Sea?was one of the first times America experienced?total war, and advancements in military technology, such as?iron?and?steel?warships, and the development and initial deployment of early?machine guns?added to the destruction. After the American Civil War, turmoil continued in the?Reconstruction era, with the rise of?white supremacist?organizations like the?Ku Klux Klan?and the issue of granting?Civil Rights?to?Freedmen. – Wikipedia

I cribbed that whole paragraph from Wikipedia (I left all the links in tact), its time trippy that all of the topics are still relevant today, far in the distant future. Its no wonder Jules Verne wanted to blast off into space and the Impressionists were anxious to leave the past behind. On entering the show a sign asks us to close our eyes and envision the future, in Designs for Different Futures there is no escape from our earthly bounds but plenty of solutions to imminent future disasters. Similar to the popular?The Impressionist’s Eye show which was divided into themes around urban life?Nature, The Modern City, Everyday Objects (or still life), People, and Bathers,?Designs for Different Futures?investigates 11 thematic sections:?Resources,?Generations,?Earths, Bodies, Intimacies, Food, Jobs, Cities, Power, Materials and Data.

My concept of the future was invented in an 1865 novel with steam punk technology and adventurism but this exhibit has more of a Philip K. Dick vibe, an American writer who died in 1982, his work explored philosophical, social, and political themes, with stories dominated by monopolistic corporations,?alternative universes,?authoritarian?governments, and?altered states of consciousness, there’s a video clip from Blade Runner 2049 that blips on the wall signaling his contribution to our concept of the future. I fell in love with Sci Fi with Jules Verne but PKD upended my world view with his predictive gritty awful realism of technology that invades our space instead of enhancing it and making things better. Entering the Designs for Different Futures exhibit is a bit like crossing the brane barrier between multiverses, a distinct tingle of?déjà vu, with that feeling of time travel realness, and the notion that maybe things will be OK, after all.

Science fiction is not just space opera books, it’s art, television, films, games, theater, and other media that inspire an aspirational speculation of tomorrow’s technology and livability. In the ‘future history’ of art this collection of objects will be a touchstone of speculative futurism, an investigative art show in a museum space envisioning the future through science, technology, craft, and art. The first impressionism show was held in a photographer’s studio, a photographer who was an early hot air balloon explorer, the link between impressionism and the acceptance of functional distortion in painting and technology like photography opened a portal to new thinking about the ways things look in real life. The news about the future is often bleak, dystopia is a vision that is scary and an easy sell, but?Designs for Different Futures?is an installation of art and technology exploring the hopefulness data point in the Venn diagram overlapping past futures, present futures and future futures.

 

Designs for Different Futures

Philadelphia Museum of Art: October 22, 2019–March 8, 2020

Walker Art Center: September 12, 2020–January 3, 2021

Art Institute of Chicago: February 6 –May 16, 2021

Read the press release on DoNArTNeWs.

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American http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/american/ http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/american/#comments Wed, 02 Oct 2019 16:17:12 +0000 http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/?p=4533

Impressionism, Michener Art Museum

Edward W. Redfield (1869-1965),?The Upper Delaware, c. 1918. Oil on canvas. 38 x 50 inches. Gift of Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest.

Impressionism to Modernism: The Lenfest Collection of American Art, Michener Art Museum

Road Trip! The?James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown invited DoNArTNeWs to preview?Impressionism to Modernism: The Lenfest Collection of American Art, an exquisite collection of paintings by Bucks County regional artists collected by Gerry Lenfest and donated to the museum as a core collection, 59 impressionist landscapes, followed by 50ish modernist paintings securing the institutions role as a cultural hotspot in the American art scene for generations. The collection is inspired, the focus on regional art and the response by American artists to new ideas about painting, how to see, the influence of artist collectives and groups, schools of thought about color and optics, and the sheer mastery of the medium of painting as the pinnacle of fine art is lucid, refined, and clear in its mission.

“Glorious examples by such luminaries as Walter Emerson Baum, Fern Coppedge, John Fulton Folinsbee, Daniel Garber, William Lathrop, Edward Redfield, George Sotter, Robert Spencer, and Walter Elmer Schofield illustrate the profound importance of art produced in this region. In 2010, the Lenfests gave another major collection of Modernist works by Charles Frederick Ramsey, Louis Stone, Charles Evans, Lloyd Ney, and Charles Rosen, and others, expanding the Museum’s ability to tell the rich story of American art and securely placing the Museum in the pantheon of significant American museums.” – Michener Art Museum

Art and friendship go a long way, I invited artist?Robert Bohné to join me and thankfully he drove Laura Storck, photographer, scientist, rock star, media influencer, and I to view the collection. Bob knows a lot more about these artists than I do and his insight into Bucks County artists and galleries is deep and connected. We are also painting buddies, meeting up each week at a Philadelphia area spot to paint plein air landscapes, we’ve been steady at it for more than five years now and a core group of painters has formed a bond, a commitment to painting.

“I’ve recently had the pleasure of being a guest of DoNArTNeWs for a preview of the Michener Art Museums upcoming show, Impressionism to Modernism: the Lenfest Collection of American Art. If you’re a fan of the Pennsylvania Impressionists, you’re going to love this exhibit. If you’re a landscape painter, you’re going to love it even more. The show consists of approximately 100 paintings and one piece of sculpture by over 30 artists, displayed in chronological order. The paintings are carefully spaced and perfectly lit in a comfortable setting, and the quality of the Lenfest collection is exceptional, to the point that fans of American Art will recognize many of these paintings.

Kudos to Curator of American Art, Laura Turner Igoe for doing an exceptional job. Regional landscape painters will have an opportunity to view a large segment of their lineage, and the size of the show makes it easy to compare works, all within a few simple steps. In additional to “Impressionism to Modernism”, the Michener has a wonderful selection of their permanent collection on display, along with an exhibit of watercolors and drawings by Harry Leith-Ross and sculpture by Raymond Granville Barger.” –Robert Bohné

Hands up! How many of you have ever joined an art group, club, alliance…? Me, too. Lots. And art classes. My post on FaceBook:

The chronological, clockwise exhibition?circles the square space with an undulating path of Bucks County regional masterworks, there are lots of surprises and juxtapositions that will stop you in your tracks. A painting by Henry B. Snell is at the end of the first stretch, dramatically different from the pastural landscapes, the viewer is placed in the middle of roaring rapids cascading down high ravine stone walls, mist rising, thick paint shiny and shadowy making waves.

Then Bob points out that Snell In 1899 began teaching at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, where he remained until 1943. He was an influential teacher, instructing several of the founding members of the Philadelphia Ten, also known as The Ten, a group of female artists from the United States who exhibited together from 1917 to 1945. The group exhibited annually in Philadelphia and later had traveling exhibitions at museums throughout the East Coast and the Midwest.

The connection to The Plastic Club and?Moore College of Art & Design?and all my artist friends tugged my heartstrings so hard I started to cry, tears of joy, happiness, gratitude for the teachers of art who change lives, culture and history. – DoNArTNeWs

Not kidding, full on tears, I get invited to the Moore Senior Show every year, I’m so honored, and I’m a member of the Plastic Club, a formerly all women’s artist club founded 1897, overlapping the timespan of the beginning of the exhibit through the mid 20th century, I draw and exhibit there all the time, my emotional reaction is authentic. Bob and I have been talking about the show all week, too, conversations about the links we have to the past through our art club connections. For example, The Philadelphia Sketch Club owns a Fred Wagner painting, I get to see it often, it was recently included in an exhibition of Philadelphia regional landscape artists at the Woodmere Museum of Art, seeing his paintings in the Michener Art Museum felt like visiting an old friend, a teacher passing down formulas and secrets, leading by example with thrilling composition, expressive color, and dynamic application of paint.

There is a Fred Wagner painting of a rail yard with billowing smoke belching from the engine stacks of rumbling trains along tracks, the elevation is high, looking down the scene of the early industrial built landscape, it reminded me of Claude Monet,?The Gare Saint-Lazare (or Interior View of the Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line), 1877. Wagner’s painting captures an American landscape in the jagged strokes of murky smoke, the color is acrid and gray, the circumambience choking, the rush of progress corrosive and dismal compared to the French view.

I wondered aloud about the connection and?Laura Turner Igoe agreed about the influence of the Impressionists on Philadelphia painters. The exhibition is so well thought out they anticipated my question and had already planned?The Lure of Paris: French Influences on Pennsylvania Impressionism,?December 3rd,1:00 pm – 2:00 pm with Therese Dolan, Professor Emerita, Temple University.

$10 member | $20 non-member | $5 student
Price includes Museum admission.

1886 marked the last Impressionist group exhibition in Paris but saw the launching of the movement in America when the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel exhibited nearly three hundred Impressionist works in New York City. The show had a lasting impact on the artists and art market in America. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art’s faculty during the 1890s featured European-trained artists such as William Merritt Chase, Cecelia Beaux, and Robert Vonnoh and the Academy in Philadelphia became a leading hub of American Impressionism. Students at the Academy continued to migrate to Paris to study with French masters, visit the museums, experience the Salon, and attempt to get their work exhibited and sold. This talk will focus on the art of Edward Redfield, Walter Elmer Schofield, and Daniel Garber, all of whom studied at the Pennsylvania Academy and became known as the Pennsylvania Impressionists.

Impressionism, Michener Art Museum, Fred Wagner

Fred Wagner,?Canal at Lumberville,?oil on canvas, 35″x 43″, in trust to the James A. Michener Art Museum from Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest

The ambience of the exhibition is not at all daunting with a logic and clarity that is intellectually satisfying and aesthetically stimulating, the lighting is perfect allowing the eye to rest on the color palettes of each painting comfortably, a wonderfully neutral deep green with a hint of viridian (it’s not impressionist without viridian) covers the walls in a modern color that I predict will have influence on interior design. When you enter the doors you are confronted with the beginning and the end of the collection, about 100 artworks, turn right and there are bold abstracts, turn left for impressionist landscapes, this simple logic allowed the curator to focus on layout of the artwork which is as precise as the hands on a clock, yet fluid and flexible in it’s hub and spoke arrangement.

I thought it was as close to perfect as you could get.?But I’m biased. I loved the art. – Robert Bohné

Me, too.

Impressionism to Modernism: The Lenfest Collection of American Art,?Curated by Laura Turner Igoe, Ph.D., Curator of American Art, through March 1, 2020

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50 http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/50-2/ http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/50-2/#respond Sat, 25 May 2019 23:35:35 +0000 http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/?p=4520

Brick by Brick Poster, Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks

Click the poster for large image.

Brick by Brick, LGBTQIA+ Artists Celebrate Stonewall at 50, Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks

My painting’s on the poster! Full disclosure, I sat on the jury, too! Participating artists sitting on the jury leave the room, the remaining four jurors make selections with Togo being the tie-breaker. I had already submitted entries for the show before I was asked to help edit the show, as did two other jurors, it feels satisfying to having my paintings be selected by my peers. The panel was four jurors with Jody and Togo breaking ties, we looked at artwork for hours, listened to readings of artist statements, re-looked at all entries, then edited down to as many pieces as we could possibly fit, the submissions were heartfelt and amazing, we had a lot of debate. I felt a special honor to participate with the panel on curating a significant representation of high esthetic quality of Philadelphia artists and sensitivity to the theme, a celebration of 50 years since the Stonewall Riot in NYC, the beginning of gay pride, I was 16 then, now I’m a gay elder.

I submitted a group of plein air paintings from camping trips to gay campgrounds in PA and Florida, the jury liked ones I did at The Woods Campground in Lehighton, PA. For the past many Summers I have set up camp with my easel always at the ready under a screen tent, I’ll often paint all day, the environment is sexy and body positive, focus on fun, music, dance parties, bonfires, my paintings attract attention from friendly fellow campers. Making art, being in creative flow, communing with nature, being naked in the sun, mixing colors to match the sunset fills my being with strength and pride. Gay campgrounds are an oasis of self-expression and freedom, primitiveness and acceptance of the queer identity, unity and acceptance of diversity.

Brick by Brick, LGBTQIA+ Artists Celebrate Stonewall at 50, Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks, 13th and Pine Streets, Philadelphia.

Opening Reception and Awards: June 2nd, 4:00 – 7:00

DoN Brewer, Brick by Brick, Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks

Flags, The Woods Campground, oil on canvas, 8″ square, 2018, DoN Brewer

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Anxiety http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/anxiety/ http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/anxiety/#respond Wed, 08 May 2019 00:41:32 +0000 http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/?p=4469

Social Anxiety, DoN Brewer

Social Anxiety and Plein Air Painting

by DoN

Since 2014 I have been meeting up with a diverse group of painters coordinated by Robert Bohne, Philadelphia Landscape Painting Meetup, with a focus on Philadelphia post industrial landscape and nature study. Weekly painting sessions with plein air painters, each with their particular easels, brushes and palettes of color,? and art cars filled with gear, gathering together somewhere in the urban landscape. Sunday’s we meet at a designated spot to paint, usually three or four painters will show up, sometimes more, the network of friends keeps growing and morphing. The irony of being a Sunday painter is not lost on me, I miss a lot of social events because of the timing but painting plein air, observing the landscape until the construct and composition is burned into my retina, with other painters is an integration of my emotional state(s) into a practice plan that puts me, as an artist, first on a very long to do list.

Painting landscape, setting up the French easel, laying out some fresh paint, medium and solvents has become routine but with dozens of individual steps and actions I am aware that part of what I’m doing is performance and maintenance. The act of painting landscape is setting up a cone of vision and learning all you can as quickly as possible, synthesizing the colors of the environment by swishing together pigments with solvents onto a surface with brushes; it’s like putting on a play, there is always the feeling of audience, a synesthetic temporal experience of portraying a social construct that feels primitive and deeply profound.

The painting is representative of the experience, time becomes a color in the paint box, a tool mixing colorfully like a brush. For me, it’s about making a picture with moments of light dabbed on the canvas, emulsifying pigments into the colors of the environment as I see them. Within the moment units, like a tache, the brush loaded with acidic tension, are interpersonal experiences of interaction with others and their expectations, less so in nature or park settings, but in public spaces like the Italian Market you’re guaranteed to meet some characters, quick studies in friendliness and communication, a shared experience mixed like pigments on a palette. The act of being gazed on during performance becomes synaesthetically multi-colorful resulting in emotional stains on the artist.

Anxiety is an emotion disorder that is common, like heterosexuality, but not normal; too much is bad, too little is bad. Like finding the perfect structural color mixing pigments, anxieties color conversation with tones of emotions, traumatic and amusing, happy and sad, sweet and romantic; I often get asked where do I show? How much do they cost? Is painting a hobby? How do you make a living? Big questions with no easy answers, the desire to be a dream follower, aspirational authenticity, deep shit that observers are looking for answers to, in random situations, in which I am obviously invested, defining answers in a way that defends the space I’ve claimed, the palette and scale, the medium, the studium and the punctum, providing a value scale from cool to warm so others may assess my worth.

Am I a Sunday painter? While I’m mixing color the atmosphere is tinged with creating value and worth, the color of money, the color of time and space, acting like an artist. It’s a lot to ask. The questions are loaded. Answers come to mind days later in late night re-writes of encounters involving art and money. Up sell? Brush off? Engage in the art of the deal? I’m going to keep painting my moods.

Social anxiety disorder (previously called social phobia): People with social anxiety disorder have a general intense fear of, or anxiety toward, social or performance situations. They worry that actions or behaviors associated with their anxiety will be negatively evaluated by others, leading them to feel embarrassed. This worry often causes people with social anxiety to avoid social situations. Social anxiety disorder can manifest in a range of situations, such as within the workplace or the school environment. – NIMH

The Gleaners, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″, 2019, DoN Brewer

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The Artist http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/the-artist/ http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/the-artist/#respond Fri, 03 May 2019 00:53:54 +0000 http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/?p=4495

Robert Bohné, Big Timber

Big Timber, oils, 2019,?Robert Bohné

The Artist,?Robert Bohné

Many people ask me when I started painting and I often wonder to myself, “When did you stop painting?” Bob?Bohné has essentially been an artist his whole life: studying, practicing, teaching, experimenting, drawing, painting, woodworking, making music, coaching, coaxing, and encouraging others to be artists, too. Like me, Bob had a long career in the corporate world, including defending co-workers as a union rep, and balanced work life with his creative drive to someday be an artist, full time. Recently he said to me, “We should treat this like a job, and work on art everyday.” Here’s the thing,?Bohné already is driven to work every day, often late into the night, to create artworks that express his passion for fine art with skill and a keen eye; he is an artist.?

Even while working on the railroad,?Bohné studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, as well as earning his certificate in arts and aesthetics from the Barnes – de Mazia Program at The Barnes Foundation, and now that he’s retired he has redoubled his efforts to improve on his education and life long practice by making art on a daily basis. By keeping his art pump primed with drawing, painting, teaching and study, the artist is living his most authentic life. The artist’s studio is an ecstatic mess of paints, brushes, canvasses, frames and works in progress; a great lesson I’ve learned from Bob is if I feel the need to clean my art space I’m supposed to be making art.

Exactly five years ago, after a messy major surgery, Bob encouraged me to join him and his plein air painting group and start landscape painting again after a long lapse. Since then we have been exploring and documenting the Philadelphia region by painting outdoors, rain or shine, in the heat and cold, every week, all year. As an organizer,?Bohné can detect when a fellow artist needs to be pushed through self built barriers and develops plans to make the creative block walls collapse and allow creativity to flow, dam up overflowing doubt, and create a clear path towards confidence. As a teacher, he offers words of encouragement and simple advice for improvement; sharing and teaching is a great way to improve your own skills, by offering kind and generous critique the artist hones his own craft. As an art collector he seeks to understand what makes an artwork resonate with line, light, space, and color, and like the great Dr. Albert Barnes, he is passionate about balancing artworks and objet d’art in pleasing combinations in order to stimulate his own artistic sensibilities.

In a sweet synchronicity, Robert?Bohné is having a one-person art show at Church Street Gallery in West Chester, PA, the gallery is celebrating their fifth anniversary. Bob and I share an art mentor, too, Francis Tucker, a great painter and teacher, who encouraged both of us separately in our different worlds to follow our dreams, to not give up, to practice and learn daily, to be sharing and caring about creativity and the pursuit of beauty, and to know that the practice is it’s own great reward.

Robert?Bohné, Church Street Gallery,?12 S Church St.,?West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Opening Reception: May 3rd, 2019, 5:00pm.

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Bathers http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/bathers/ http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/bathers/#respond Sun, 14 Apr 2019 12:40:17 +0000 http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/?p=4476

Renoir, Bathers, Impressionists Eye

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Great Bathers, 1884 – 1887, oil on canvas, 46 3/8″ x 67 1/4″. The Mr. and Mrs. Carroll S. Tyson, Jr., Collection, 1963. Image courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

The Great Bathers

“For three years Renoir wrestled with this work,” notes Jennifer Thompson, the museum’s Gloria and Jack Drosdick Curator of European Painting and Sculpture and Curator of the John G. Johnson Collection, who organized the exhibition. “Just how exhaustively, we knew from notes left by Berthe Morisot, but seeing the cross-sections and X-rays taken by our specialists in Conservation has reaffirmed precisely how much he questioned himself and started over, again and again.”

The Great Bathers, Renoir’s post-impressionist masterwork, has just completed a year long restoration, there were shifts in the paint layers that caused shadows on the surface and an old layer of yellowed varnish from a 1940s restoration effort was removed, now the large oil painting glows with the color and light the artist experienced during its creation. The gallery displays a chip of paint that reveals the layers of color and decision making the artist grappled with to make color do his bidding. The flesh painting is lively, dewey, and warm, colors built up over time, layer on layer of colors and white paint; purples, oranges, ochres, are glazed and smoothed with descriptive brushstrokes until the surface of the canvas is structurally, satisfyingly colorful, optically stealthy and atmospherically rich, and texturally, sensually appealing.

Forms wrapped in color fold and twist into space, the shapes and connections resolve into multi-colorful passages of imagination, observation, and meditation, Renoir understands color as a communication device. The contrast of flesh painting, the figures, against landscape painting elements like water, sky, and foliage, is expressively explained with hue and tones from his limited color palette, luscious chords of viridian, cobalt, and warm venetian red describe the landscape atmospherics eloquently; layers of paint, glaze, and pigment are orchestrated with virtuoso brush strokes, color mixtures, and patient periods of thought and time are layers of intellect and genius like an allusive glint of light in peripheral vision.

The painting is squirmy, squishy, wet and warm, the allure of primitiveness, Nature, and the Elements, are narrated with arabesque lines, atmospheric light, and coded color broken into a taxonomic description of painterly skills and problem solving, exploration of shapes in space, and exquisite color and light development. By folding space, time, color, light, line, and shape into a unified, multifaceted holographic explanation of life, the artist speaks in a language without words, color provides the answer to all of the questions. The shifting orthogonal planes are built from layers of color, not a mix on the palette, but the physical gesture of paint application and the temporal Mobius strip of time twisting through the construct like a color form of its own making.

by DoN

The Impressionist’s Eye at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, April 16th – August 18th, 2019

Curator
Jennifer Thompson, the Gloria and Jack Drosdick Curator of European Painting and Sculpture and Curator of the John G. Johnson Collection

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Kimono http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/kimono/ http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/kimono/#respond Sat, 16 Mar 2019 16:24:15 +0000 http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/?p=4449

Doris Peltzman, The Red Kimono

The Flowered Kimono, oil on canvas, 32”x 24”, Doris Peltzman

The Flowered Kimono

The Flowered Kimono is a painting that I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks; I first saw the painting during an afternoon? drawing workshop, paintings were arriving for the installation of the?Art of the Flower show, at The Philadelphia Sketch Club, it was obvious to me the painting was a triumph, a genius creation, exploring modern concepts and honoring Philly’s heritage as a center of contemporary American art. Over the past weeks I’ve been able to observe the artwork up close, from across the room and peripherally, each observation engages and attracts my view, not just because it’s big and red, but the circumambient atmosphere the painting creates with elements of line, light, space, and color.

Doris Peltzman is a modern artist, following paths trail blazed, a timeline of determined painters making art, Philadelphia style, the artist explores painting, literally following the footsteps of Philly’s best artists. The pursuit of excellence, experiential intent, and drive to understand paint as a communication device connects directly to Eakins, Wagner, Oakley, Willcox Smith, and Wyeth, who walked the cobblestones of Camac Street pursuing their passion generations ago.

The painting is mostly a red field, pyramidal forms meeting at the center of the composition, a hub and spoke, triangular color fields form the cones of textile folds, functionally distorted application of paint conveys narrative forms with nature and flower shapes, vivid color ideas, and decorative explorations of paint with controlled abandon. Expressing the fluidity, luxury, and craft of the kimono, the narrative of the wearer, and power of color is the picture story, but the decorative qualities are enhanced and elevated with structural color, and creative distortion.

Color is balanced with the cool multi-colorful gray, active brush strokes catch the light, against strong, not hot, edges of many reds folding over into shades of colorful purples, orange, cadmium; textile is the subject fact, flesh painting balances the extravagant, billowy, silkiness with nuanced strokes of warm color, lively brushy-ness, and confident application of roles to colors. The painting is exuberant where it needs to be and restrained where it needs to be, purposeful, functional color ways, expressive triangulated shapes, sinuous descriptive lines activating the sense of movement, action and volumetric space feels monumental.

The Flowered Kimono hangs on the ‘Winners’ Wall’ now, First Prize, Art of the Flower 2019, under the historic tall windows of the gallery/studio, dominating the space with clear design devices, controlled color, facile brushwork, and a composition that describes the experience of texture, light, and liveness with color.

Awards and artist reception?Sunday, March 24th at 2 PM at The Philadelphia Sketch Club,?235 South Camac Street, Philadelphia PA 19107.

by DoN

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String http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/string/ http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/string/#respond Wed, 06 Mar 2019 15:43:02 +0000 http://www.zhuozhouftc.com/?p=4435

Caitlin McCormack, Paradigm Gallery + Studio

Nobody Gives A Shit, Caitlin McCormack, photo by?@thatchinesekid

String Theory

Caitlin McCormack at Paradigm Gallery + Studio

See You All in There

by DoN

Cotton string is a common material found in most homes; string is a flexible structure made from fibers twisted from multiple strands which are then twisted together into a multi-functional tool. Invented about 30,000 years ago, string is used to tie, bind, hang, gather and hold objects in place; we interact with string when we tie our shoes, strum musical instruments, and shoot weapons. Even DNA is twisted strands forming the foundation of being alive in a strange universe; string theory is a?theoretical framework?in which the?point-like particles are?replaced by?one-dimensional?objects called?strings. In essence, we are all made of strings.

Cotton has been used to make string, then textiles, as far back in time as we can imagine; cotton textiles became a desirable fabric during the Renaissance when it was imported from the Far East to Europe. The ability to represent textiles in art became essential to commerce and power, artists became an important resource for the church and aristocracy to convey the qualities and desirability of fine fabrics; in the 14th century the painter Robert Campin was able to represent textiles so realistically that his technique of modeling light, form, and shape of textiles influences artists to the present day.

Contemporary artist Caitlin McCormack uses this common element of daily life to communicate existential information about life and death. Using crochet, weaving, and sewing, the artist strings together ideas like beads of information that connects to concepts related to our very being. Imaginary skeletons, lively creatures, creepy forms, and wordy 3D compositions carry deep thoughts about the structure of nature, time, and memory. Like the lacemakers of old, McCormack toils in her studio creating forms enveloping space and time into whimsical yet frightening sculptural works of art, sometimes working the crochet hook until her fingers bleed.

Stringing sentences, mixing metaphors, and mashing social anxieties and dysfunction into emotional constructs of the strangeness of existence, the artist connects the viewer to aspects of being alive that are difficult to express and comprehend. The handwork and simple materials are clearly evident in the forms created from her imagination; the concepts and social commentary wrap the mind in scratchy threads of consciousness, mindfulness, and thought like a heavy blanket of love and despair.

See You All in There, Caitlin McCormack at Paradigm Gallery + Studio,?746 S 4th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, through April 13th, 2019.

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